Spot the difference parking fee makes
MOTORISTS are giving Townsville City Council’s new paid parking areas the swerve, using only about 20 per cent of car spaces each day.
Figures released by the council show 2710 parking tickets have been purchased across the 106 new paid car spaces on Jones St, Eyre St and Flinders St West since ticket machines were installed in January.
On average each day, 21 tickets are bought from ticket machines to park in the spaces that were converted from free to paid in the new year.
Motorists parking in the spaces without paying for the appropriate ticket are also being stung with fines, with 100 infringements issued.
Only a handful of cars are now parking in the new paid spots, in stark comparison to free parking in shopping centres such as Stockland, which are packed with vehicles.
Tropical Queensland Cat Clinic owner Dr Carl Adagra’s business is on Jones St, where parking spaces have been converted from free to paid.
He said despite some negative feedback from customers, the change had not had an especially heavy impact on his business, but he had noticed the area had become quieter.
“We’ve had a few customers complain but we do offer to reimburse them if they are upset,” he said.
“I think it’s more just the logistics of having to park, then bring their cat into the clinic and then go back and pay. It’s a bit painful from that side of things.
“Looking out there now, it’s almost completely bare, with only two cars parked and one of them is ours.
“Previously people would have come up here and parked, then walked past different businesses.”
The expansion of paid parking followed efforts by the council to revitalise trade in the CBD.
Free two- hour parking was offered in the CBD during December to entice Christmas shoppers into the CBD Vacant paid parking spaces in the Townsville CBD ( below) contrast with packed carparks in the suburbs ( top). INSET BELOW: Jones St veterinarian Dr Carl Adagra. and the move was hugely popular with local businesses.
Council planning and community engagement director Eber Butron said regulated paid parking helped to ensure there were vacant car spaces near shops and businesses.
“Regulating paid parking in areas close to businesses and providing free parking options for workers around the CBD is fundamental to freeing up bays close to shops to assist traders and their customers,” he said.
“After the initial roll- out of paid parking in Flinders St West, the council made a few changes in response to feedback from some of the businesses in the area and that seems to have worked well.
“As with all parking in the CBD, the council will continue to monitor how it is working and take on board any feedback we get.” Mr Butron said parking in Townsville was still the cheapest in Queensland at $ 1 an hour.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the free parking at Christmas was very successful and it was worth re- considering parking charges due to tough economic times in Townsville.
“We all recognise and know that we have had a downturn in our economy over the last couple of years and we need to be looking at ways that would encourage people to buy local and come into the CBD to reactivate that area,” he said.
“If you think about the times we are struggling, maybe it’s time to rethink some of these things and they certainly did that in the lead- up to Christmas with the free parking.”